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Essays

Drunk Promises Are Hard to Keep

Drunk Promises Are Hard to Keep

Beginning is easy. Finishing is hard. I often have grand ideas for a poem that will never be written. Today, it was: “To the Roses Should They Bloom in the Spring,” which was to be a study in the volatility of nature, and an exploration of the unique pleasure that comes from making predictions towards an uncertain future. My poem…

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A Letter to Mike, the Angsty Squirrel I See on My Porch Sometimes

A Letter to Mike, the Angsty Squirrel I See on My Porch Sometimes

Dear Mike, Did you know that if you lie very still, and very flat, and make sure not to move a muscle, I can still see you? Mike, did you know that you remind me of myself in every changing room of every gym, pool, locker room and youth center I ever went to between the ages of thirteen and…

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On Meeting Irving Layton

On Meeting Irving Layton

In the early seventies, Irving Layton came to our High School in Montreal-North upon the invitation of our eleventh-grade North American Literature teacher. We were for the most part Italian immigrant teenagers and excited to hear the poems of a well-known Canadian literary figure. I remember how the larger-than-life poet, with the stentorian voice, used his hands to emphasize key…

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Twin Chef

Twin Chef

Emma’s hand shook as she presented her dish to the judges. Her lower lip trembled, as did the lavender-infused pannacotta on the bright white plate. This was it. Her last chance. The proof in the pudding. The desperation in the dessert. Her future wobbled in the balance. Either win or go home to a tiny apartment where no one would…

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The Pheasant

The Pheasant

They had married in September and it was the end of October when Giovanni stood alone at Malpensa airport waiting for his Canadian adventure to take off. His sweeter half would have followed after he had had the time to find accommodations and employment. Giovanni did not give much thought to the fact that this was the first time he…

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Famous Poet: Please Give Me a Dollar

Famous Poet: Please Give Me a Dollar

Sometimes I have to laugh. I’ve got three dollars in my pocket. There’s a blinking phone message from my country music pal reminding me that his show is tonight. It’s at a smoky joint full of unshaved loudmouths and their giggly girlfriends with too much makeup clutching beer glasses smudged with lipstick all shades of red. This besotted adventure is…

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Every Novel Has a Soundtrack

Every Novel Has a Soundtrack

Long-form writing is a lonely business. In a previous blog (“Writing With My Feet”), I talked about the role of the gym in my fiction writing (and preventing my shoulders from taking on a permanent slump from crouching over the digital hearth with my imaginary friends, also known as “fictional characters”). But for me and many other writers, music is…

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History of a Dress

History of a Dress

I have had an affinity for Venice ever since, as a child, I was taken to the city by my parents during carnival. Years later, I often returned to research a doctoral dissertation on Venetian art. In June of 2012, though, my visit was quite different from previous ones: I was returning to the city I love to celebrate my…

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